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When your team is not performing – remember this!

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

Forming | Storming | Norming | Performing

One of the many impacts of the coronavirus, is that you may have found yourself working in a newly formed team or with new members which have been drafted into an already established team to help mobilise the systems and services.

Even though we are in the midst of a global crisis, this doesn’t mean the usual team dynamics do not apply.

If your team is not performing as well as you would like, cut yourself some slack and remember Dr Bruce Tuckman’s model for understanding teams.

Here is a quick overview.


The forming phase functions as a team “getting-to-know-you,” and is characterised by a positive, polite environment as team members feel each other out.


The honeymoon phase of team building can’t last forever, and inevitably issues arise as team members move into the execution phase. That can mean anything from interpersonal challenges to missed deadlines, lack of clarity and poor communication.


When you’re able to get all the members of your team on the same page in the storming stage, you come out the other side with a strong understanding of how your team works together and, more importantly, how they relate to each other.


The performing stage is what every leader dreams of: smooth delegation of tasks, efficient execution of individual responsibilities that play to each team members’ strengths. This is the stage in which innovation can occur.

But you can’t get there without going through the forming-storming-norming stages. That is because your team needs to understand each other and collaborate on the best way to approach projects and day to day business to make the most of their skills when counteracting foreseeable issues or limitations.

However, remember when any changes occur in your team, the performance may dip and you may skip back to any stage, to combat this stay the course, regroup and communicate.

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Tara Humphrey is the founder of THC Primary Care, a leading healthcare consultancy specialising in workforce transformation and the host of the Business of Healthcare Podcast.

Tara and her team also work with GP federations supporting the implementation of clinical services.

Tara has over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sector and has an MBA in Leadership and Management in Healthcare, is published in the London Journal of Primary Care and is the author of over 150 blogs.

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